An Ottawa homeowner whose minivan was ruined in last Friday’s tornado says that an unauthorized tow truck driver took his vehicle and billed his insurance company $1,400.

Steven Plummer says his insurance company arranged for a towing company called Impact Auto to take the van to a repair shop. On Monday night, a man from a company called Turbo Towing showed up at his home and took it instead, assuring him it would end up at Impact.

Plummer realized something was wrong the following day, when a representative from Impact called and said they were sending someone to pick it up.

It turns out his missing van was locked in a lot just around the corner from his home, accruing daily storage fees that he was never warned about.

“The towing company had no right to take it,” he says.

Plummer says he confronted the Turbo Towing driver, who told him not to worry about it because the insurance company would pay.

“Well, that doesn’t make it right,” Plummer said.

“That ($1,400 charge) reflects to us as individuals who pay these premiums,” he added.

Laurie Dippold, a spokesperson with Impact Auto, confirmed that “the vehicle was assigned to us but picked up by an unauthorized tower.”

CTV Ottawa’s Megan Shaw visited Turbo Towing to speak with the owner, but was told he was not available. When she called the number on Turbo’s business card and identified herself, a man answered but then quickly ended the call.

Plummer says the situation is especially upsetting at a time when people in his neighbourhood are vulnerable, adding, “It’s just not right.”

With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Megan Shaw